2023-02-04 PERU

Lay Marists founded a school to Educate and Evangelize in Sullana

After six years of voluntary help, pastoral activities, visits to the sick and itinerant support in the Sullana desert, in Peru, a group of autonomous Marist laymen managed to create, in 2022, a school with mission and vision Marists, to educate children and young people in vulnerable situations, to do pastoral work and to continue helping the community.

The idea of creating the school arose in 2019 during “a Sunday celebration on the sand, barely protected from the wind and the sun, in company with the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Spirit (in the person of Sister AngĂ©lica), when some children with a sheet of the liturgy in their hands asked: What does it say here, brother? Who is Jesus?” It was precisely at that moment when the three teachers, with Marist training, committed themselves to creating a Marist-style school, inspired by the experience lived by Saint Marcellin in the house of La Valla.

Below, we present a part of the article sent by Brother Bernardino Pascual Juárez, from the Peru Sector (Santa MarĂ­a de los Andes Province), which narrates the missionary journey – from 2016 until now – of the teachers with a Marist vocation in Piura.


We need Brothers for the school” said Champagnat. “We need a school so that these children receive catechism. and the minimum scholastic knowledge”, said the teachers. There was no place, and like Father Champagnat in La Valla who bought a poor house, they bought with part of their salary some vacant land that the desert generously gives away, to be used in the development of educational activities, pastorals, visits to the sick, and support to the community, which until then were itinerant. “Providence is present in our Project”, they say confidently, as Marcellin repeated so many times in difficulties.

May 2021

The house of prayer was finished with everyone’s efforts. The celebrations of the liturgy for children began. The school environments were adapting, thinking of Providence, of their modest shared salaries, of the brothers and lay Marists of the Peru Sector, who joyfully saw the growth of a true evangelical work. Inspired by Father Champagnat, the house of prayer bears the name of La Valla – Good Mother.


In this year an autonomous and non-profit Association arises, which is organized around the education of children and young people “La Valla del Chira” (Sullana river), headed and supported by the aforementioned teachers, those who without losing the Marist essence continue their mission expanding in an urban peripheral zone embedded in the desert, through the Alternative Basic Education Center (n° 2) with mission and Marist vision, so that children, youth and adults finish their primary and secondary studies.

It is worth noting some poor environments, however, these are welcoming, cheerful and arranged with some small contributions from the Santa Rosa Marist College in terms of furniture, and the support of several volunteer teachers from the San José Obrero Marist College.

But worthy of praise is the effort and strength in its entirety of the mentioned laymen, and members of the local community in which the work is inserted; all valued and blessed by the presence of the Brothers of the Sullana Community: Ornelio, Hugo and Bernardino, representing the Peru Sector of the Santa MarĂ­a de los Andes Province, who, since they became aware of this work, wanted to be present collaborating in this evangelical mission.


Currently, the mission continues, and the center enjoys true happiness, forming the children in values to fulfill the great call and desire of Champagnat: “To form good Christians and virtuous citizens.”

The names of the participants in this adventure are not so important, although I mention them as a testimony of faith and determination: teachers Wilmer Exequiel, Juan Miguel and Alan Joao, who together with Champagnat dare to shout with conviction: « I cannot see a child without having a strong desire to tell him how good it is to live, how great is the love of God in our regard ».


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